Home Craft Days opens to good weather

Mike Still • Oct 20, 2019 at 6:00 PM

BIG STONE GAP — Food, music, crafts, artisans — all of this and some sunshine and seasonable temperatures came together Saturday at Mountain Empire Community College’s Home Craft Days.

“It’s been great,” event organizer Michael Gilley said as visitors filled the two main craft and vendor levels on the MECC campus.

Assistant Krisanne Hickman said attendance promised to match the 23,000 attendance from 2017’s Home Craft Days, as 151 vendors offered items including handwoven textiles, jewelry, apple butter, decorative items, pottery, art and food.

Music on Saturday and Sunday includes 41 different acts and solo performers at the event’s two stages.

Cleveland, Virginia, artisan Larry Counts was one of several people practicing what once were regular household and farm tasks in the Appalachian region.

“I make whisk brooms, kitchen brooms, patio brooms and cobweb sweepers,” Counts said as he worked on another broom.

Blacksmith Mark Ramsey fired up the coals in his forge with a hand-crank bellows as visitors watched him hammer out pieces for a cooking pot tripod and hook.

“It’s great to have kids come by and ask how it’s done,” Ramsey said. “A lot of them don’t know what a blacksmith is except for “Forged in Fire” on cable.”

Sullivan County weaver John Platchuck worked on a loom, weaving a strip of cloth that would become cloth bookmarks while, a few tents away, Johnson City weaver Sarah Mullins spun yarn from a basket of wool.

Bristol potter Kipp Brixey demonstrated how to throw a bowl on a potter’s wheel, and traditional woodworker Sam Flanary of Jonesville showed how furniture legs were made before electric motors – with a pedal-operated lathe.

“I switch feet a lot so my legs even out,” Flanary said as he worked on a sample piece for onlookers. “I don’t want to be walking around in circles with one leg bigger than the other.”

“I make them from wood without any nails or screws,” Cecil Bell of Mount Carmel said as he showed a table of traditional wooden toys.

Home Craft Days continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with more music, crafts and food throughout the day. Parking is limited, and visitors are advised to catch an MEOC Transit bus at shuttle stops at:

Union High School

Wood Avenue curbside, in front of Food City

Municipal parking lot curbside behind Big Stone Gap Post Office/Federal Building

Country Inn in Big Stone Gap

Comfort Inn

Rides are $1 per boarding.

Detailed event schedules, vendor lists and other information can be found at the Home Craft Days website: http://www.homecraftdays.org. More information and updates can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homecraftdays.